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Complaints to energy firms on the rise

Complaints to energy firms on the rise

Category: Gas and electricity

Updated: 19/11/2013
First Published: 19/11/2013

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

According to research from Consumer Futures, the big six energy firms have seen an increasing number of complaints brought against them in the period April-June 2013, with Npower topping the list.

According to the survey, Npower received a total of 202.5 complaints per 100,000 customers during the quarter, five times more than SSE (which received the lowest number of complaints at just 38.3 per 100,000) and three times more than its nearest rival EDF Energy, which recorded 75.5 complaints.

The number of complaints to all of the big six companies have been steadily rising over the past year, with consumer confidence in energy firms taking an unsurprising knock. Interestingly, however, these figures come from data compiled before the latest spate of price rises, so it would be worthwhile seeing how energy companies currently fare in terms of consumer satisfaction.

According to industry experts, they probably wouldn't fare any better.

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), for example, has reported that since October 2010 energy prices have risen three times faster than inflation and a whopping eight times faster than the rate of earnings, while further price rises could seriously impact people's standard of living and make them even more mistrustful.

"Price hikes of 36% over the last three years, coupled with poor customer service, has compounded the lack of trust in energy firms as households struggle to afford to have a warm home," said Gillian Guy of the CAB, while a spokesman from Consumer Focus has said suppliers still have "a long way to go" if they're to rebuild consumer trust.

The complaints figures come at a time when households are really starting to come under pressure. British Gas's 9.2% price rise comes into effect on Saturday and the rest of the big six (bar e.on) have exhibited similar price rises, and as a double blow forecasters are expecting the big freeze to hit this week.

This means price hikes are being implemented when many consumers will be seeking to turn up the heat, but it's not too late – there's still time to switch before most of the price rises take effect, so compare energy tariffs now and see how much you could save.

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.